Define

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ISO stands for International Organization For Standardization that define,establish and maintain an effective quality assurance system for manufacturing and service industries.

Background of ISO
In 1946, delegates from 25 countries met in London and decided to create a new international organization, of which the object would be "to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards". The new organization, ISO, officially began operations on 23 February 1947, in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 159 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a non-governmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. On the one hand, many of its member institutes are part of the governmental structure of their countries, or are mandated by their government. On the other hand, other members have their roots uniquely in the private sector, having been set up by national partnerships of industry associations. Therefore, ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. Because "International Organization for Standardization" would have different acronyms in different languages ("IOS" in English, "OIN" in French for Organisation internationale de normalisation), its founders decided to give it also a short, all-purpose name. They chose "ISO", derived from the Greek isos, meaning "equal". Whatever the country, whatever the language, the short form of the organization's name is always ISO.

Discover ISO
Why standards matter Standards make an enormous and positive contribution to most aspects of our lives. Standards ensure desirable characteristics of products and services such as quality, environmental friendliness, safety, reliability, efficiency and interchangeability - and at an economical cost. When products and services meet our expectations, we tend to take this for granted and be unaware of the role of standards. However, when standards are absent, we soon notice. We soon care when products turn out to be of poor quality, do not fit, are incompatible with equipment that we already have, are unreliable or dangerous. When products, systems, machinery and devices work well and safely, it is often because they meet standards. And the organization responsible for many thousands of the standards which

benefit the world is ISO. When standards are absent, we soon notice.

ISO 9000 and ISO 14000
This section provides a concise overview of ISO's best known management system standards and their impact on the world. In brief The ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 families are among ISO's best known standards ever. ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001: 2004 are implemented by over a million organizations in 175 countries. ISO 9000 family The ISO 9000 family addresses "Quality management". This means what the organization does to fulfil: * the customer's quality requirements, and * applicable regulatory requirements, while aiming to * enhance customer satisfaction, and * achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives. ISO 14000 family The ISO 14000 family addresses "Environmental management". This means what the organization does to: * minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities, and to * achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.

Food Safty
Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards. Food can transmit disease from person to person as well as serve as a growth medium for bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Debates on genetic food safety include such issues as impact of genetically modified food on health of further generations and genetic pollution of environment, which can destroy natural biological diversity. In developed countries there are intricate standards for food preparation, whereas in lesser developed countries the main issue is simply the availability of adequate safe water, which is usually a critical item.

Certification
Certification is not a requirement of any of ISO's management system standards. This section provides a basic understanding of what certification and related terms mean. Certification, registration and accreditation In the context of ISO 9001:2000 (and ISO 9001:2008) or ISO 14001:2004, “certification” refers to the issuing of written assurance (the certificate) by an independent external body that it has

audited a management system and verified that it conforms to the requirements specified in the standard. “Registration” means that the auditing body then records the certification in its client register. So, the organization’s management system has been both certified and registered. Therefore, in the ISO 9001:2000 (and ISO 9001:2008) or ISO 14001:2004 context, the difference between the two terms is not significant and both are acceptable for general use. “Certification” is the term most widely used worldwide, although registration is often preferred in North America, and the two are used interchangeably. On the contrary, using “accreditation” as an interchangeable alternative for certification or registration is a mistake, because it means something different. In the ISO 9001:2000 (and ISO 9001:2008) or ISO 14001:2004 context, accreditation refers to the formal recognition by a specialized body – an accreditation body – that a certification body is competent to carry out ISO 9001:2000 (and ISO 9001:2008) or ISO 14001:2004 certification in specified business sectors. In simple terms, accreditation is like certification of the certification body. Certificates issued by accredited certification bodies may be perceived on the market as having increased credibility.

Advantages
* make the development, manufacturing and supply of products and services more efficient, safer and cleaner * facilitate trade between countries and make it fairer * share technological advances and good management practice * disseminate innovation * safeguard consumers, and users in general, of products and services * make life simpler by providing solutions to common problems * provide governments with a technical base for health, safety and environmental legislation, and conformity assessment

Disadvantages
Does not guarantee better quality ISO certification definitely does not automatically lead to better quality product. While it does encourage operations to think in terms of systems, it does not require them to be good. This is definitely a problem with newer certified companies and those with purchased quality systems. Focus on certification For anyone that has worked with ISO certified companies, this is definitely a truth. ISO certification becomes a target, an end point, a stop on the road to quality. In reality, continuously improving the systems would lead to better quality, but for ISO certified companies, all too often the focus is on the next audit. Frequent audits Full system audits every three years with annual surveillance audits is just too much. It seems that an audit is always around the corner. People can spend one month preparing

and two months addressing findings so that 1/3 of the total effort in a year is addressing audit findings. If an organization has a robust internal audit system, there is no need for annual surveillance audits.

Reference
http://www.iso.org/iso/home.htm